Brownwood scout leaders support decision to let girls join
BROWNWOOD, Texas - Two Brownwood scout leaders say they support the Boy Scouts of America's decision to let girls join the century-old organization and begin earning merit badges. Besides being scout leaders for Troop 14, Juliet LeMond and Lauren Pulley both have sons in the Boy Scouts. "I got several phone calls and messages yesterday of people texting me, 'When can our girls start?' I was like, 'OK, hold on,'" LeMond said. LeMond said it was about time the Boy Scouts of America gave the green light for girls to take part in its programs. BSA made an announcement Wednesday that its board unanimously voted for girls to join the Cub Scouts beginning in the fall of 2018. Pulley said her son, who has Asperger's Syndrome, benefited immensely because of the Boy Scouts. She wants to see girls receive the same opportunity. "Scouting changed my son's life. I mean, he loved boy scouting the whole time he was in," Pulley said. Mark Conrad, scout executive for the Texas Trails Council of Boy Scouts, said it's up to each pack on whether to allow girls. The council represents 18 counties in the Big Country area. "If the charter organization, or the pack, or the troop, would like to have girls in their program they can. If they don't, they don't have to," Conrad said. Conrad said the decision was years in the making after conducting numerous studies. They issued the directive to be more accommodating to different families. "We want to serve all youth. We want to make sure all kids, girls [and] boys, know the scout law, the scout oath. They still need the same traits," Conrad said. As for LeMond and Pulley, they said they don't see the big deal. Girls have been a part of the Boy Scouts of America since 1971, when BSA began offering the co-ed Exploring and Venturing program. "The world is changing and I think it's a good thing," Pulley said. "I think that people need to know the facts about it, why it's happening, and look at the overall bigger picture," LeMond said. Older girls who want to be part of the Boy Scouts of America will have to wait until 2019, according to a press release. BSA is currently working to develop a scouting program for girls to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.